Can I use raw oak to make soft-metal forming blocks ?

I'm not much of a carpenter but I need some advice as to what I can do with some free wood I acquired this winter.
The Raw Oak (the free wood) is 6 inches wide by six inches deep and these boards are approximately 8 to 10 feet long. I have about 20 of them left. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I could 'make' so that I might be able to turn some of this oak into dapping blocks and forming blocks so that I can pound the hell out of some metal cutouts ? (Could this kind of wood be used in a small press ?)
The metals I am working with is copper, brass and Stainless steel. At present, most of the copper and brass is between 20 and 8 ounce, while the stainless is 22 and 26 gauge. Now out of this metal, I have a few hundred cutouts, most of which are round, oval and of similar geometric shape. The dimensions of these 'cutouts' would be approximately 1 to 3 inches across, with some irregular S.S. shapes in the 4 or 5 inch range.
Many of the circle and oval cutouts would need to be domed (similar to an old chrome hubcap) but anything that might make a really cool shape would be even better !
Any suggestions as to how I should go about this and what kind of tools would be required, would be very much appreciated.
Thanks,
/FC
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Hickory is one of the preferred woods for forming blocks as it is hard and tough. tough means it doesn't split quite so readily as some others, notably red oak.
White Oak and especially live or willow oak are tough woods too. If that is what you have, it should work well for you.
Here is how you can tell if it is red oak:
Cut off a straight grained board about 2" by 2" by 6 - 8" long. Put one end in a glass of water and blow on the other end. If it is red oak, bubble will come out the other end. Red oak is porous. White oak is not.
I don't know if live or willow oaks are porous, some folks group them with the red oaks and others group the separately. Oaks also readily hybridize in the wild so a particular tree may quite have all of the characteristics of a specific species of oak.
To make forming blocks you will need a bandsaw or a hand saw called a turning saw and a LOT of elbow grease. A router with roundover bits will be very helpful for shaping the edges to the desired radii.
Depending on the shape, and how hard you whack it, even red oak might be OK for your purposes if you pay careful attention to the grain direction.
If you decide the beams you have are not suitable, you should able to trade them for white oak, hickory or ash. Ash is also hard and resists splitting.
--
FF




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wrote:

Hey thanks Fred !
I had no idea there was so much to wood ! Thanks for the info.... I'm going to try that little trick with the water... I think my grandpa will get a kick outta that ! I'll check out some of the tools of which you speak and give er' a go. Thanks for the great advice....
/Jman...
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